“Belize” by Christiana Bredbenner
for the warm sun on my shoulders
in a whole new place
different from any I’ve ever known
as an adventure opens up before me.
For stepping into unfamiliar trees
and hearing a lilting language
different from any I’ve ever heard
as new creatures swing, call, and crawl around me.
for the sound of wildlife in the night
and rain on the rooftop
as I lay in the top bunk of a bunk bed
excited to see a new day in the morning.
For climbing steep stone steps with no railing
up and up, don’t look down
until you can see the view from 131 feet up
and can see for miles.
for the feeling of stepping into another world
beautiful and wondrous
as a sacred hush surrounds me
and the stone walls silently breathe and grow.
For the smell of sweetly perfumed night air
from the scent of beautiful flowers growing
and stars burning beautifully overhead
glowing brightly in the sky.
for mud sliding under my feet
and a steep trail leading up
to a beautiful pool where a waterfall cascades
and the water is azul blue.
For the rush of gliding through the trees
my gloved hand sliding on the line behind me
and I let out a yell of joy
because I might be flying.
for the feel of cool paint between my fingers
as I smear it into the wood board
literally painting by hand
wondering how many people will see these signs.
For the sweat pouring down my face
as we hike another steep trail
and reach the top of four kilometers
to gaze out over beautiful mountains.
for a bumpy boat ride to an island
and I can’t stop laughing for joy
as spray leaps up and around us
and the wind whips my hair off my face.
For stepping onto a sandy shore
with rustic buildings and tropical palm trees
with the sky so blue above
and realizing I’ve stepped into paradise.
for the gentle breeze on my back
the sounds of laughter as a ball soars over a net
the taste of warm coffee and cold fruit juice
and the sweetness of a tropical fruit spread in the morning.
For the strain of my muscles
pushing against a paddle
as we kayak out to discover
a new underwater world.
for the feeling of water over my body
as I dive down to the submerged city
gazing around at its surreal beauty
and swimming amongst a school of little fish.
For the shared jokes, laughing, joking around
the quiet moments shared
between new friends and old
as we kick back on island time.
for the feel of my hair being tightly braided
the sound of drums, and dancing
as we all come together to learn about a culture
and for one night are all bound as one family.
For the sight of a burning sky
deep red, tangerine orange, bright yellow
as the fiery ball sinks behind a distant shore
so quickly, and all at once.
for the place that has stolen my heart.